Alternative app store for iOS called Setapp Mobile coming soon


Setapp Mobile is an alternative app store for iPhones and iPads and has opened waiting list for users who want more app download options once it goes live. — Photo: Bernd Diekjobst/dpa

BERLIN: Several alternative app stores for iPhones and iPads are already in the works as Apple prepares to open up its iOS ecosystem to third-party software providers under new rules enforced by EU authorities.

Software company MacPaw is among the first to announce plans for a rival app store, called Setapp Mobile, and Apple users in the EU interested in the new app store can sign up on a waitlist for the beta version, MacPaw says.

So far the company has not said when exactly the store will go live or what it will look like.

MacPaw already offers a software subscription called Setapp with a number of apps for Apple devices including Macbooks.

Here, the apps need to be downloaded via Apple's App Store if you want to use them on mobile devices running on iOS. However under the EU laws, Apple will be made to allow users to install apps from other app stores.

Fortnite publisher Epic Games announced plans in January to release its own iOS app store, after Apple was forced by the EU's Digital Markets Act to allow third-party alternatives to its in-house app marketplace.

Until now, Apple's own App Store has had a monopoly, but the tech giant is expected to release an iPhone update for iOS 17.4 around the beginning of March, which will enable users to download alternative app stores.

The latest version of iOS will also make available the use of alternative payment services using NFC technology as well as alternative browser engines on Apple devices, meaning EU users will finally get access to alternatives to Apple Pay and Apple's Safari browser.

Alternative app store providers must be authorised by Apple and their apps must be submitted to the tech giant for review before publication. Installing apps directly via a third-party provider that isn't an app store, known as sideloading, or directly via the developer, an option available to Android users, still won't be possible. – dpa

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